Hebrews Chapter One
Hello all! Today we will be covering the first chapter of Hebrews. For those of you who suffer from short-term memory loss or haven’t read the post yesterday, one of the main purposes of Hebrews was to reassure the Jewish Christians that Jesus is necessary. We see this purpose played out in chapter one, as the author describes the importance and glory of Jesus in chapter one.
To start off the book and chapter, the author compares Jesus to the prophets of the Old Testament. The Jews loved and adored the prophets of the Old Testament, and they viewed their words very sacredly. Therefore, it makes total sense that the author would begin by comparing Jesus to the same prophets that the Jews love. Not only does he compare Jesus to the prophets, but he raises Jesus above the prophets by saying he was “appointed the heir of all things.” The prophets are crucial to both us and the Jews, but Jesus is even more important. Jesus is described as being the “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” That’s some pretty high praise. This should begin to reassure the Jewish Christians of the importance and necessity of Jesus Christ.
The author doesn’t only compare and raise Jesus above the prophets, but he does it to the angels as well. In verse 5, the author rhetorically asks “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’?” The answer to that question is none of them. No angel is God’s son. This verse is detrimental to the Jehovah’s Witnesses because they hold the belief that Jesus is the archangel Michael. We know though that Jesus is the Son of God. Therefore, sorry Jehovah’s Witnesses, but no angel, including the archangel Michael, is God’s son.
We continue along in the chapter, and verse eight reads, “But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” Hold up. Wait a minute. Put a little SAY WHAT?! The Church of God is so strong on the doctrine that God is one, and Jesus is the Son of God, not God the Son. Do we have it wrong though? Upon first look, it appears Jesus is God. Let’s take a deeper look at this then.
First off first, this is quoted from Psalm 45. Psalm 45 is about a king, not God. This isn’t trying to dictate any sign of deity, rather a sign of authority. For surely the Psalm writer of Psalm 45 wasn’t trying to give the king any form of deity. Furthermore, verse nine states, “therefore God, your God, has anointed you.” First, God doesn’t need anointed. If Jesus were God, then he wouldn’t need to be anointed. Second, the king in Psalm 45 that has the word “God” ascribed to him has a God. God can’t have a God. There is no higher being than God. Jesus can’t be God and have a God. Therefore, we can read verses eight and nine, as attributing authority to Jesus, not Jesus actually being God.
Another tidbit to point out, the ESV uses the phrase, “But of the Son he says,” in verse eight. However, a more accurate interpretation of the Greek reads, “with respect to the Son.” This is important in verses 10-12, as those verses aren’t talking about Jesus. It is in respect to the Son, Jesus. Verses 10-12 talk about the magnificence of YHWH. The author of Hebrews does this because in verse thirteen, he quotes Psalm 110:1 (the most quoted Old Testament scripture in the New Testament). By glorifying God in verses 10-12, the author is also glorifying Jesus because Jesus has the sole privilege of sitting at God’s right hand. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Creator of the heavens and the earth! That’s a huge privilege to have, and that privilege is held by Jesus and Jesus alone.
The final verse of Hebrews chapter one is quite possibly my favorite. It reads, “Are they (the angels) not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” The angels are sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation. Uh, hello! That’s us! We are the ones who are to inherit salvation. The angels are sent out to minister to you! Isn’t that awesome?!
The author of Hebrews reassured the Jewish Christians of the importance of Jesus. The author also encouraged them by stating the angels are sent to minister to them! Again, I hope this passage can impact you in the same manner that it would have for the Jewish Christians, “for the word of God is living and active,” (Just a teaser for Thursday’s reading).
I hope you all had a grand Sunday and have a great Monday!
In Christian love,
Fun fact of the day: the first four verses of Hebrews is one long sentence in Greek. Wow!